Universities and schools across Australia are being coerced into promoting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agenda through a Beijing-run initiative called the Confucius Institute.
The stated aim of the program is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges. The organization has been criticized over concerns about the Chinese government’s undue overseas influence and suppression of academic freedom.
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The Confucius Institute in reality is an arm of the CCP’s propaganda machine. “Confucius Institutes are an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up,” said Li Changchun, former CCP minister of propaganda, in 2007.
Confucius Institute on campus: Expanding the influence of the CCP
The Confucius Institute was founded in 2004 through a Beijing-based company called Hanban, which is responsible for its worldwide administration. “Confucius Institutes… are an important part of (China’s) soft power. Because we want to expand our influences,” said Xu Lin, General Director of Hanban, in 2010.
Australian universities are being granted A$100,000-$150,000 for allowing the creation of the institutes and are receiving textbooks, classroom materials, and teachers trained to administer the CCP’s version of history. Thus far, 13 universities in Australia have signed with the Confucius Institute.
Teachers are selected by the Confucius Institute (Center for Language Education and Cooperation, formally called Hanban) based upon CCP guidelines. For example, one couldn’t practice Falun Gong and also be a teacher because of the ban on the practice in China even though are no laws against the practice in Australia.
Confucius Classrooms: Grades K-12 indoctrination
While the Confucius Institute is of major concern, there is an equally concerning wing of the CCP’s worldwide propaganda machine called the Confucius Classrooms. Also overseen by the CCP, this initiative targets younger and more easily influenced students in grades K-12.
The Confucius Classroom offers schools A$10,000 for signing up to have Chinese language and culture taught in their schools, with once again, a teacher selected by Beijing with the intent of exporting CCP propaganda to Australian youths.
In one extreme example, Mao Zedong, who was responsible for the death of an estimated 60 million Chinese, is celebrated as a hero as the CCP version of Chinese history makes its way into Australia’s classrooms.
The Australian government takes action
If left unchecked, this issue will only escalate as more Australian classrooms adopt Beijing’s version of “doublethink.” However, the Australian government has stepped in and is currently investigating the situation with the assistance of a team of researchers, headed by Marc Bateman. Thus far, the investigation has resulted in the ban of Confucius Institutes in the state of New South Wales (NSW).
Bendigo has identified the state of Victoria as another hotspot for the CCP’s Confucius Classroom propaganda efforts.
“Thousands of kids are going through these schools who are being taught to be pro-CCP and they are going to go off into their jobs and have a pro-CCP view not based in reality,” said Bateman. “It’s also about influencing the professors to have a pro-CCP view,” he added.
“They’re trying to rewrite their history, build global Belt and Road projects and create other global initiatives so they can become legitimate in the eyes of the world. This is why the CCP is spending all this money,” said Bateman.
“They need to buy schools, councils, and countries off so they can look powerful and can be recognized as legitimate, but it is all smoke and mirrors. When you dig slightly beneath the surface, you see that the power of the CCP is all an illusion.”
The reality is that the CCP is now playing under a new set of rules where they are not going to be able to achieve their goals, at least in Australia.